I've decided that true friends and true loves are unusual creatures.
In some ways they're like real wizards, or unicorns - no, not that they're impossibly mythical, but that they're not easy to find. Its not that they aren't there - really, there ARE good men out there! - it's just that they aren't common.
Then again, would you really want them to be? A true gem, a diamond of the first water as our Regency gents would call it, is rare. So is a true friend. Or a real, honest to goodness loyal, loving life partner.
Nope. Not common.
It's kind of like a recessive trait. I have Dalmatians. I love them for their humor, their active minds, and their amazing coloration. Liver-colored Dalmatians are less common than black and white ones. Liver's a recessive gene. Beautiful. Unusual, but not unheard of.
Kinda like true love or a loyal best friend.
I started thinking about all this when a friend told me about her first and best friend. The BFF had gotten very sick and my friend had gone to help. She flew to Rhode Island from Illinois. She stayed a week. She got her BFF's kids to school. She made casseroles, made sure the BFF's husband could stay at the hospital with his wife. When she left, she left food in the fridge, gas in the car, flowers on the bedside table and a "love-ya-get-well-be-happy" card with them so when her friend came home, she'd have something fun waiting for her.
I was so admiring, not only of the length of the friendship, but of the lengths to which she'd go for her friend. She told me they were like sisters. Neither of them had a blood sister, only brothers, so they'd gravitated to one another in school and through the long years, nothing had changed that sense of sisterhood.
Since I have a sister whom I adore, and a long history with her, (grins) I guess I'd never felt that way about a gal-pal, at least not early on.
I don't have a friend I've known since kindergarten and it made me a bit sad to realize it. It reminded me that there are people from those years I'd love to reconnect with. Alas, even Facebook hasn't helped on that one! But it probably will, one day.
I do keep up with two friends from my high school years, but it seems a slim bit of a friend load when my husband has a legion of pals from those days. Maybe it was the organized sport thing? I don't know. I was a misfit in high school, so it's probably not surprising that the misfit club I belonged to hasn't kept up.
College was a blur. Really. And I see you laughing...it WASN"T because of the beerfests. I went to college in a dry county. For those of you raised outside the South, that means they don't sell alcohol ANYWHERE in the entire county. Let's just say the next town over was verrrrrry popular with my college pals.
That said, time just flew by while I was in the mountains of NC, matriculating. I think time flies now that I have kids, but I remember actually wishing time would slow down in college. Needless to say, it didn't.
I keep up with four or five people from college. Ironically, not my roommate. Nor my college sweetheart. (On reflection, that's probably a really GOOD thing!)
So all this got me to thinking, and you know how dangerous that is.
I began to wonder what changed for me. When did I start gathering the REAL friends. The women who now inhabit my life and make it sane, make it fun, make it grow and expand. When did the Women Who Make Me Laugh, the Women With Whom I Connect come to be part of my life?
Who are my true, now-BFFs and how did I meet them?
One of my BFFs is an intuitive counselor (a counselor who's a psychic) and started out as my grief counselor when my mother passed away. Then I went to work for her. Then we became fast friends. (I'm not just a client, I'm a pal!) She's a friend. A fellow writer. A confident extraordinaire.
Another, long time BFF was in my Rotary club. You can only imagine how much fun we had with that. We worked for rival banks for a while. Equally amusing - though not to our bosses. She threw an engagement party for me when I got engaged to a guy I didn't marry. She hated him. She did it anyway, 'cause she felt it was the right thing to do. That's what you do for your BFF. (Thank heavens I didn't marry that guy!) Needless to say, she was relieved when I met my DH. She was one of my two bridesmaids.
One cool BFF I met over home reno's, dogs and marketing brochures. She had Keeshonds. I had Dalmatians. Somehow, we worked that out. Ha! We painted together, stripped tables, hung wallpaper. We still trade decorating secrets.
Decorating's the profession of another of my BFFs. I met her at church. We went to church in our "new" city of DC on the same Sunday. We both joined the pitiful choir (1 bass, 1 tenor, 2 altos, 2 sopranos) and managed to forge a friendship that's lasted for more than twelve years. Carrying that chior on our shoulders was a real bonding experience, fer sher.
Then there's the BFF I met in line at the welcome reception at the Denver RWA conference. We've been best buds since then. We've traveled together, roomed together at Nationals and locals, we've scrapbooked together, laughed, cried and grown as women and as writers because we're friends. She was the third person I told when I found out I finally managed to get pregs with my second child. (She'd actually figured it out because I ordered black beans at dinner. She knows I despise black beans, in general. Ha!) She's one of the first I call or email with news or triumphs or for advice. She's pure gold.
Another pal, confident, friend and fellow Mom is from my neighborhood. We trade kid stories. Dog advice. We watch one another's houses for vacations, we take care of one another's pets for days and weeks. We have barbeques and dinners together. Our kids make s'mores together, swim together and go trick or treating together. We walk our kids to school together.
Then there's the Romance Bandits. Legends in present time. Grins. Meeting for the first time - and in several cases NOT meeting - as 2006 Golden Heart Finalists. Who could ask for a better cadre of BFFs? When we decided to start the blog together, some of us had still not met in person. What started out as a "Hey, let's try this out and see..." has become what another pal of mine calls A Force Of Nature. Heehee. I love thinking of the Romance Bandits as a force of nature. Nice image.
It seems I've met more of the lasting kind of friends since I started writing.
Some of my writers pals I've met in surprising ways - online, in classes, at the grocery store, in the bar. (Imagine THAT?!?!)
I've met tons of fast friends in my local chapter, what a great group of women and men THAT is! Gotta love the Washington Romance Writers.
Of course, there are some other really great writer pals I've met online too. I met Becke Martin here, and just met her in person at National this year. *waving at Becke* Becke and I are having a great time hanging out at the Barnes and Noble.com Mystery Bookclub. A bunch of ya'll have stopped by, so thank you!!!
And there's Keira, who's off visiting castles. And PJ, and Gannon, and Limecello, Jane, Buffie....the list goes on and on and on! How cool is that? What a blessing the Romance Bandits have been in terms of friends! You're never lonely at National if you know the Banditas that for sure. I ran into Bandits, BB's and folks who've guested with us EVERYWHERE. It was great.
I have a new BFF-in-the-making. She's another writer - imagine that! - and one I've admired for quite a while. We have a lot in common and have been laughing our arses off when we talk. That's a BFF in the making, right there.
What about you? Do you have a BFF that you've had "for-evah"?
Did you meet any of your friends in unusual ways? In court or on jury duty? Skydiving? Scrapbooking? Here?
What about your spouse?
I met my marvelous husband at a party. It was a set up, but I didn't know it. I'm thrilled now, but at the time? I was SO ticked to learn that the only reason for the party was to set this date up. I had sworn off dating you see...
One of my friends met her husband online. Another met hers at Karate. Yet another met hers at a fraternity/sorority dinner, but she was with someone else. They waited until the Brother she was dating left the house and campus before they felt they "could" date. They've been together for nearly 30 years now. Wow.
What about your BF, Spouse or just that "special" guy you had a great time with? Any fun stories on how you met?
Time to dish, ladies!